Meall a' Bhùiridh - 1108m
Creise - 1100m

Friday 22nd December 2017

Weather/Conditions: A wet and chilly day. Decided against plans by the coast, but a peek of the webcams back at the house showed a clearing inland - so I headed to the ski centre hills. No above the clouds as hoped, but not so bad either.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 10km / 1000m / 3h 15m
Accompanying: Alone

I'd had walking plans out on the coast - I think this was the day that I sat in the car at Gleann Salach near Appin, and decided against a moorland plod in the mist. It was probably not a bad decision in the end, as I had a much better day for those hills the following week. I drove back to Ballachulish and looked at the online webcams to see cloud tearing off the ski centre summits. So I quickly pointed myself in that direction, hopeful of finding some summits in the mist. I stopped by Keiths to borrow his map as I'd forgotten mine!

The ski centre was cool and gusty, which just about summed up the rest of the afternoon. I walked up under the ski tows to emerge onto the half-way plateau: Coire Pollach. I took some shelter behind one of the huts. The wind was hard-going, but the break was appreciated. I had a bit of a plod up Meall a' Bhuiridh, watching as the clouds would open and close with the promise of sunlit summits not far away. They would never quite get there. This was the case for a minute or two on the summit, but it was clear there would be no more than that. I continued the day toward Creise.

This second summit was broadly similar: a nice interconnecting ridge though, and the broad summit where I asked myself (not for the first time) which cairn is the top again?

I went north and descended into Glas Choire to the east - this would avoid going down Sron na Creise, and it was new terrain anyway. This coire, like many others in Etive and Glen Coe is steep! Even in the absence of snow it is easy to see why this is such a terrain trap for unwitting skiers and walkers. The walls continuously drop, and I lost height quickly. Crossing the river, I emerged out onto the edge of Rannoch Moor, and continued out toward the ski centre.

It goes without saying that Creise is an impressive hill, even more-so from this low angle. It's NE spur thrust sharply skyward and away into the mist, black and rain-battered. The tops had been easily gained, but sometimes it is these lower features that are more impressive. In my awe of the mountain I was clawing at the edge of a wilderness experience here, so much so that the ski centre felt a long way off. The boggy plod back to it felt suitably long, but I was back only three and a quarter hours after I left. It was a short day suitable for a short winter afternoon - just as well as I'd only got moving after midday.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 12.05pm Ski centre
(1.15) 1.20pm Meall a' Bhùiridh
(1.55) 2.00pm Creise
(3.15) 3.20pm Ski centre

Written: 2018-10-01